Wellness Programs

Know Your Body

Cancer is becoming more common in younger men and women. Regular self-screenings are the best way to keep healthy and early detect anything abnormal. Read below on how to properly self-screen your body!

Breast Cancer

  • Getting Started: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Then, raise your arms and again look at your breasts in the mirror. Note any changes in size or shape of your breasts and/or nipples (including fluid coming out of one or both nipples).

  • Step 1: Lie down on your back with one hand behind your head. Lying down allows for the breast tissue to flatten and makes it easier for you to examine. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

  • Step 2: Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage. Be sure to spend extra time in the armpit area as this is the area where breast cancer tends to develop.

  • Step 3: Moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts.
  • Step 4: Feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 3.
  • Step 5: Finally, squeeze each nipple. Note any pain or discharge coming out.


Testicular Cancer

  • Step 1: Hold the penis out of the way and examine each testicle separately.
  • Step 2: Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between the fingers.
  • Step 3: Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testes.

    The best time for you to examine your testicles is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

    You should be aware that each normal testis has an epididymis, which can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testis. Normal testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that conduct sperm. Some men may confuse these with cancer at first.

    A testicle can get larger for many reasons other than cancer. Fluid can collect around the testicle to form a benign condition called a hydrocele. Other times, the veins in the testicle can dilate and cause enlargement and lumpiness around the testicle. This is called a varicocele. To be sure you have one of these conditions and not a tumor; you need to have a doctor examine you.

    If you have any concerns, ask your doctor.
Being a teenager in a world where appearance plays a huge role is tough. The media portrays false body images that make us think negatively about our own bodies leading to eating disorders and unhealthy habits. So, educate yourself on eating disorders and what they do to your body. Also, challenge yourself to move towards a more positive body image by using the tips below!

Eating Disorders

  • What is Anorexia Nervosa?

    • It causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that's far below normal for their age and height. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively. It's an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems and one may often equate thinness with self-worth. No matter how skinny this person  becomes, it’s never enough.
    • Affects on the Body
      • Brain/nerves: can't think right, fear of gaining weight, sad, moody, irritable, bad memory, fainting, changes in brain chemistry
      • Hair: hair thins and gets brittle
      • Heart: low blood pressure, slow heart rate, fluttering of the heart, heart failure
      • Blood: anemia and other blood problems
      • Muscles and Joints: weak muscles, swollen joints, fractures, osteoporosis
      • Kidneys: kidney stones and kidney failure
      • Body fluids: low potassium, magesium and sodium
      • Skin: bruise easily, dry skin, get cold easily, yellow skin and nails get brittle
  • What is Bulimia? 

    • Someone with bulimia might binge on food and then vomit (also called purge) in a cycle of binging and purging. Binge eating refers to quickly eating large amounts of food over short periods of time. Purging involves forced vomiting, laxative use, excessive exercise, or fasting in an attempt to lose weight that might be gained from eating food or binging. A person with bulimia often feels a loss of control over their eating as well as guilt over their behavior
    • Affects on the Body
      • Brain: depression, fear of gaining weight, anxiety, dizziness
      • Cheeks: swelling, soreness
      • Mouth: cavities, tooth enamel erosion, gum disease, sensitive teeth
      • Throat/Esophagus: sore, irritated, can tear and rupture, blood in vomit
      • Muscles: fatigue
      • Stomach: ulcers, pain
      • Skin: abrasion of knuckles, dry skin
      • Blood: anemia
      • Heart: irregular heart beat, low pulse, low blood pressure and heart failure
      • Body fluids: dehydration, low potassium, magnesium and sodium
  • What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

    • It involves obsessions, which are distressing thoughts that repeatedly intrude into a person's awareness. People with BDD might focus on what they think is a facial flaw, but they can also worry about other body parts, such as short legs, breast size, or body shape. Those with BDD become obsessed over an aspect of their appearance. They may worry their hair is thin, their face is scarred, their eyes aren't exactly the same size, their nose is too big, or their lips are too thin. BDD has been called "imagined ugliness" because the appearance issues the person is obsessing about usually are so small that others don't even notice them


Positive Messages

  • Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Don't wear clothes that feel too tight or restrict movement. Dress to express yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear.
  • Cut labels out of your clothes. The size on the tags shouldn't dictate your mood for the day.
  • Stay away from the scale -- If your weight needs to be monitored, leave that up to the doctors. How much you weigh should never affect your self-esteem or your sense of who you are.
  • Talk to yourself at the mirror. Focus on what you like and remind yourself that it's okay to like and appreciate what you see, no matter what size you are.
  • Make a "why I like myself" list. Think of all the things about YOU that you like. Think of all the reasons you deserve to love yourself and write them down. Hang the list up next to the mirror as a reminder that these things are what make you truly beautiful.
  • Pamper Yourself. One a month get a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Get together with a friend and give each other pedicures. Buy lotions that feel and smell good and treat yourself to some perfume or body mist. Take naps when you need to, just because you can!
  • Remind yourself that the people who truly love you, love you for YOU, not for what you look like.
  • Remind yourself that looking healthy is something positive. It means that you are well rested, eating right and nurturing your soul. It means no more than that, and no less than that.